Canada Continues to Trample First Nation Rights Under Trudeau
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Most Indigenous leaders never use the word “reconciliation” because it is not plausible when First Peoples are still fighting for basic human rights — for water, land, social services, health care and education.
The reality of 2019 looks a lot like Canada’s colonial past.
This week, we are seeing this play out clearly and painfully on two separate but related fronts.
Law since 1876, the Indian Act is a paternalistic piece of legislation that has historically governed every aspect of Indigenous life in Canada. Through it, Canada established the residential schools, and to this day the act dictates who can receive treaty rights and who cannot.
Blackstock told Canada in July 2018 that the definition of “First Nations child” for the purpose of implementing Jordan’s Principle needed to be broadened. First Nations children without status who live off-reserve but are recognized as members of their nation should not be excluded, she argued. It should be up to the nations, not the government, to determine who is a member of the community.
“Children in life-threatening situations shouldn’t be left holding the bag,” Blackstock said. “I don’t want this to be about blood quantum.”
Then, last November, she heard of a case of a 20-month-old girl with congenital hyperinsulism – a condition that causes excessive insulin secretion. The baby did not have status but her mother and maternal grandmother do.
Ottawa refused to foot the $1,400 bill for the child’s diagnostic test so the society paid for it.
This, after Blackstock spent more than a decade fighting Canada to live up to the simple promise of treating all children equally and after the human rights tribunal repeatedly rebuked the feds.
Blackstock’s battle is taking place as the country heaves and ruptures from the arrests of 14 First Nations people in Northern British Columbia defending their own land against a pipeline. Late Monday, heavily armed members of the RCMP climbed over wooden sticks and handcuffed these land defenders. The hereditary chiefs and their supporters are trying to safeguard the land for all of Canada’s children, Indigenous or not, from a proposed natural gas pipeline on their territory.
At first glance, these two events might seem entirely separate but they are intertwined.
They are aspects of the same fight — to be fairly, legally recognized in a country that spins stories about the sincerity of reconciliation and the importance of nation-to-nation agreements. Not to mention adhering to international law.
As Ottawa continues to fall short of upholding Indigenous rights, the emptiness of its promises of reconciliation are laid bare.
Why is canada hostile and disrespectful to its indigenous people?
Same reason why any other minorities anywhere else might mistreated: bigotry, racism or simple indiferrence.
Just because it's Canada doesn't mean people here aren't capable of it.
It's easy for the world to overlook human rights abuses committed here when the stereotype Canadians is being too polite.
God damn it Trudeau. You were supposed to bring balance to the first nations, not destroy them.
Same reason the USA has been, native nations inside a country were given a great deal of independence when it comes to their lands at first. Usually because their actual good lands were taken by the settlers. So when country has grown bigger there is more pressure to trample that independence because their "far away reservations" are not that far away anymore. It has usually to do with money more than anything, and sometimes just plain racism.
i had every intent to move to Canada at some point as i heard from my family that they treat Natives far better than the US does. after the government pushed my tribe to force me in-to their clinics (which were awful) and the reservation (where people were racist towards me not being 100% Native,) the prospect of moving to Canada became a lot stonger. but, from the articles i've seen, living in Canada seems to be no better (if not outright worse) than living in the US when it comes to my kind.
It's like the British attitude towards them just never went away.
Also I think it has at least something to do with how little talk and education there is on the matter, while I'm aware it's pot and kettle to discuss this from a US perspective, in the states the extent of the atrocities committed against natives is something much more widely known.
A lot of what I hear from people when I talk to them about this stuff is a general feeling of "Its too late to do anything." Like we fucked them so bad there would have to be so much work to fix what we've done and a lot of people are just more concerned with the falling oil price than they are with fixing a problem from the ground up. Basically a lot of people see it as a trainwreck that's going to happen whether we do anything or not.
This applies to Europe aswell. I had no idea Canada commited atrocities against natives until I saw the article about the forced sterilisation and abortions in Canadian clinics on here a few months back. Meanwhile everyone I know have heard of the US pulling some janky shit on native americans in the past.
Thats because the US is an easy target. No one talks about the Roma, Barakumen, Austrailian Natives, and the Canadian First Nations because lets laugh at America.
As horrible as it is to say, if you don't live within one of the reservations you'd be fine. Most people wouldn't even know you'd be a North-American native.
A lot of the reasons why First Nations continue to suffer as effectively second-class citizens in Canada comes down to the terrible mundane reason of ineffective bureaucracy that lacks an overwhelmingly-strong mandate from the public to deliver on its mission, with mild indifference from the general, non-FN population. Here is a perfect example fresh off the press that could be a thread all to itself:
TL;DR Garden Hill First Nation has a perfectly-good modern water treatment plant that does everything the right way; only half the homes are hooked up to the city pipes and the rest have badly-maintained cisterns or no running water at all. Any home not hooked up to the municipal water supply needs to boil their water and water safety is a massive issue. However, because the municipal water plant is working as designed, the community is considered to have their problem solved. There are no boil water advisories because the official water supply is pumping clean water -- get fucked if you're not hooked up to it though. The problem is technically solved even though it leaves half the community fucked.
The political will to come in and do a proper job and dig up the whole fucking community to lay piping to every home just doesn't exist and the government has limited resources available so it's eager to cross every finished task off when they can. The water treatment plant is supplying fresh water as required so the rest is not the government's problem, as it were.
I'm no expert in the matter but I'm pretty sure that if you take every First Nations reservation that's more dysfunctional than the general population (because not EVERY reservation is a hopeless alcoholic hellhole of domestic violence and chronic unemployment), you're going to find slapdash bandaids instead of comprehensive positive solutions at the root of the problem in one way or another.
The amount of infrastructure investment that needs to be spent bringing reservations up to par with the average Canadian's domestic experience is considerable, and you don't have to be a racist to be reluctant about diverting a massive quantity of taxpayer dollars into massive infrastructure projects -- accountability and corruption being automatic points of concern. Being a racist certainly helps make a decision faster, of course.
I personally think it's absolutely worth it, though it needs to be carefully planned and managed; massive infrastructure work is ripe for graft and inefficiency and small failures, and the infrastructure works themselves will be very disruptive to the communities as they're happening, even if they're for the better.
A sad reminder that as wonderful as my country is, it's not perfect either. It's not the first I've heard of this issue either.
It's very worth while to do.
The problem like it always has been for Canada will be in doing this without corruption occurring at the provincial, federal, and tribal levels.
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